Could Linux run malware without needing to start the operating system?

Imando

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Hello Everybody
I am totally new for Linux and would like to ask a question that could be wired for some of you.
I have bought a hard disk from someone and as i mounted it in my PC and try to run Linux Ubuntu setup the hard disk has run and loaded Linux cinnamon which was installed in it from previous owner and asked me for a log in password.I turned the PC off and try to format the hard disk to install Linux Ubuntu on it but a question crossed my mind which is if this person is trying to hack my BIOS or my PC is it possible to do so just because his operating system has run in my PC? is there some automatic executed malware that could run it self even without log in to Linux operating system?
thank you in advance
 


LorenDB

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If I understand your question correctly, I don't think so. If you format the hard drive, you'll essentially be deleting any viruses on your hard drive. With that being said, a virus could potentially be lurking on the EFI system partition if you have a UEFI computer. If that is the case, you may be wise to format the entire disk and let Ubuntu re-create the drive partitions.
 

Vrai

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but a question crossed my mind which is if this person is trying to hack my BIOS or my PC is it possible to do so just because his operating system has run in my PC?
yes

is there some automatic executed malware that could run it self even without log in to Linux operating system?
Possibly.

But I think either of the above is quite unlikely.
That being said - I would recommend refraining from mounting a drive of unknown provenience.
A new drive from the manufacturer is most likely O.K. Some random used drive - there is no way of knowing - other than mounting it and taking a 'look-see'.
This is where a 'virtual machine' may come in handy.
 

Imando

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thank you for replying.
I said mount instead of saying plug in
i have plugged in the purchased drive alone without any other drive and this drive start automatically to load the Linux cinnamon and the PC come to the user name and asked for password(the old owner) as so i turned off the PC and made a low level format and installed fresh LINUX but still afraid what if there some malware that could run automatically and infect the bios
Thank you in advance
 

Condobloke

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G'day Imando, Welcome to linux.org

The fact that you have both formatted and also installed a fresh Linux, should be sufficient to give you a clean install without any malware etc dramas.

Is the person you bought the hard drive from likely to try something like that ??

if you want to really go to the extreme length....buy a brand new hard drive
OR
Use https://dban.org/ ....to wipe the drive
 

darry1966

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I think it is fair to say if purchasing a second hand drive off somebody to wipe the drive first and re-partition is good pratice. Booting from a live-cd with something like say Puppy Linux will make it safer to boot from and repartion that drive.

Pays to have things like that in yer toolbox.
 

JasKinasis

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It seems to me that all that’s happened is - you’ve plugged the hard drive in and when you rebooted, the HD had a higher priority in the boot order, so it booted from the HD instead of booting from your live media because the HD was not wiped and still bootable. Nothing unusual there. Perfectly normal behaviour.

There are viruses that can affect EFI partitions and I have heard of some that allegedly can reflash the BIOS. So it is theoretically possible that someone could go to the extreme lengths of putting something on there that could infect your machine in the early stages of powering up/booting.

However, it seems extremely unlikely. That is a huge amount of effort, for very little gain.

I think you’ve just bought a hard drive that carelessly wasn’t wiped by the previous owner.

TBH: I’d be more concerned for the seller. The drive may have had a lot of private, sensitive information on it.

If you’ve wiped it and installed something over the top, you’re fine and the previous owners privacy is also intact.
 


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